by SHALWAH EVANS
After lunch with a friend one afternoon I decided to read my Elle magazine in Dolores Park for 15 minutes before heading back to the Mission Loc@l office. I took 19th Street and nearing Guerrero I spotted a rack of clothes outside a small store. Rack of clothes–need I say more. My editor asked me recently, “When do you find time to shop?” My response: anytime, but especially times when I see a rack of clothes outside with a sign that says $20. STOP! There might be a white silk dress that fits perfectly.
There was no white silk dress. But there were enough lures to get me into the store. That store is Isso San Francisco, on 19th near Guerrero. Owners Marie Biscara and Ivy Chan said this little gem is a business headquarters that evolved. Originally just the design studio and office, the approximately 400-square foot space now contains a plethora of goods made by the owners and other San Francisco and Bay Area designers.
When I walked in, Biscara was having her lunch, and her two small children were keeping her company in the store. But that didn’t stop her from being extremely attentive and helpful (this was during my skinny jeans adventure), finding me a pair of jeans that fit around my cute shape–as she described it. I danced in the dressing room to the reggae music (her husband is in a reggae band) while she found me a backless multi-functional hoodie dress and then showed me exactly how to wear it in different ways.
From the neutral colors on the walls, to furniture to music, Biscara said they “want you to feel like you want to hang out with us; we╒re welcoming you to our home.” They do. The antique furniture–including a jacquard ottoman in the dressing room–green carpet and numerous owls adorning the walls makes the place feel classic like the few vintage pieces they offer–classic, not old. The layout is simple (there isn’t much space to do complicated and I’m glad they didn’t). Wooden movable clothing racks hold the majority of the clothes, which Biscara said are targeted to the fashion conscious but not trendy.
With price points between $48 and $150 Isso could become one of my favorite Mission spots. I had my eye on a cream vintage clutch that cost only $18. I had to fight the urge–probably shouldn’t be walking back into the office with shopping bags even if–with vintage clutches being one of my weaknesses (and shoes, and oversized bags, and I’ll stop while I’m ahead). But I’ll try to drop back in soon if I can (the store is only open from 11-5, and closed on Sunday and Tuesday) to rummage through the $10 baskets overflowing with goods. In case I don’t make it after work there is also a main store on 24th and Church, open seven days a week, 11-7 Monday thru Saturday, and 12-6 on Sundays.
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